What is Jetting Plumbing? (And When You Might Need This)

Have you ever experienced a stubborn clog in your plumbing that just won’t budge, no matter what you try? Enter jetting plumbing, a powerful solution for even the most persistent clogs.

In this guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about this innovative technique, from its numerous benefits to the situations when you might need it.

What is plumbing jetting?

Plumbing jetting, also known as hydro jetting plumbing, is a highly effective method used to clean and clear out clogged pipes and drainage systems.

It involves the use of a specialized device called a hydro jet, which delivers a powerful stream of high-pressure water into the pipes.

This intense water pressure effectively dislodges and removes stubborn blockages such as grease, debris, mineral deposits, tree roots, and other accumulated buildup that can impede proper water flow.

Plumbing jetting is a non-invasive and environmentally friendly technique, as it does not rely on harsh chemicals or invasive methods like traditional snaking.

It can be employed for various plumbing systems, including residential, commercial, and industrial applications.

By utilizing the force of water, plumbing jetting ensures thorough cleaning, restores optimal flow, and helps maintain the overall health and longevity of plumbing systems, providing an efficient solution for resolving stubborn clogs and maintaining plumbing infrastructure.

What are the benefits of using jet plumbing?

  • Effective and efficient: Hydro jetting’s high-pressure water stream effectively removes even the toughest blockages, such as grease, roots, scale, and other stubborn debris, ensuring thorough cleaning and the restoration of optimal flow.
  • Versatile: Jetting plumbing can be applied to various plumbing systems, ranging from residential to commercial and industrial settings, making it a versatile solution for a wide range of applications.
  • Non-invasive: Unlike traditional snaking methods that can potentially damage pipes or require extensive digging, hydro jetting is a non-invasive technique that does not cause any structural harm. The use of water pressure eliminates the need for harsh chemicals, minimizing environmental impact.
  • Long-term solution: By thoroughly cleaning the pipes and removing all obstructions, hydro jetting provides a long-lasting solution to clogs. It helps prevent recurring blockages, reducing the need for frequent plumbing repairs and maintenance.
  • Enhanced system lifespan: Regular hydro jetting can extend the lifespan of plumbing systems by preventing the accumulation of debris, scale, and other buildups that can lead to corrosion, leaks, or reduced water flow. It promotes better overall system health and performance.
  • Time and cost savings: Hydro jetting is a time-efficient method that quickly clears clogs, minimizing downtime and disruptions. Its effectiveness reduces the need for repeated service calls or expensive repairs, leading to long-term cost savings.
  • Hygienic and odor control: Jetting plumbing not only clears clogs but also helps eliminate foul odors caused by decomposing debris within the pipes, improving overall hygiene and maintaining a pleasant environment.

When should you use plumbers that use jet plumbing?

Plumbers that utilize jetting plumbing, or hydro jetting plumbing, are particularly beneficial when encountering persistent or stubborn clogs that traditional snaking methods struggle to clear.

Jetting plumbing is recommended when dealing with heavy grease buildup, mineral deposits, tree roots infiltrating the pipes, or any other hard-to-remove obstructions.

It is also a valuable solution for preventive maintenance, as hydro jetting can thoroughly clean the plumbing system, helping to prevent future clogs and ensuring optimal flow.

When the need arises to clean larger commercial or industrial plumbing systems, jetting plumbing becomes essential due to its versatility and ability to handle high-capacity pipes efficiently.

How exactly does hydro jetting help with clogged drain lines?

Hydro jetting is an effective method for clearing clogged drain lines by utilizing the power of high-pressure water to remove obstructions.

When a drain line is clogged, the hydro jetting process involves inserting a specialized nozzle into the pipe.

The nozzle releases a concentrated stream of water at an extremely high pressure, typically ranging from 3,000 to 8,000 pounds per square inch (psi).

This high-pressure water stream acts as a powerful force that can dislodge and break up stubborn blockages such as grease, sludge, debris, mineral deposits, and even tree roots.

As the water is forced through the drain line, it scours the inner walls, effectively removing any accumulated buildup or residue.

The intense pressure created by hydro jetting can penetrate deep within the clog, breaking it apart and flushing it away.

The water flow continues until the entire pipe is thoroughly cleaned, ensuring optimal flow and preventing future clogs.

One of the advantages of hydro jetting is its versatility.

The water pressure can be adjusted based on the specific needs of the clog and the type of pipe being cleaned.

This flexibility allows plumbers to tackle a wide range of blockages in various drain lines, from residential plumbing systems to larger commercial or industrial pipes.

Hydro jetting not only clears the immediate clog but also helps to remove any lingering debris or residue on the pipe walls.

This comprehensive cleaning action promotes better flow and prevents future clogs from forming, providing a long-lasting solution to drain line maintenance.

What are the different types of hydro jetting?

There are primarily two types of hydro jetting commonly used in plumbing applications:

Standard hydro jetting

Standard hydro jetting involves using high-pressure water to clear clogs and clean drain lines.

A specialized nozzle is inserted into the pipe, and water is propelled at a high pressure, typically ranging from 3,000 to 8,000 pounds per square inch (psi).

The forceful water stream effectively breaks up and flushes away stubborn blockages, such as grease, debris, and mineral deposits, restoring optimal flow and clearing the pipe.

Sewer jetting

Sewer jetting is a more powerful and specialized form of hydro jetting used for cleaning larger sewer lines and municipal plumbing systems.

It typically involves the use of high-capacity jetting machines and heavy-duty nozzles designed specifically for sewer cleaning.

Sewer jetting can generate even higher water pressures, often exceeding 10,000 psi, to effectively tackle larger and more challenging clogs, including tree roots and extensive debris accumulation within sewer lines.

What is the process for hydro jetting a sewer line?

  1. Inspection and assessment: A professional plumber starts by inspecting the sewer line using specialized video camera equipment. This allows them to identify the location and nature of the blockage, assess the condition of the pipe, and determine the appropriate hydro jetting approach.
  2. Preparation: Before hydro jetting, the plumber ensures that the area surrounding the access point to the sewer line is properly prepared. This may involve removing any obstructions, such as debris or overgrown vegetation, to allow easy access to the pipe.
  3. Nozzle insertion: A high-pressure hose with a specialized jetting nozzle is inserted into the sewer line through an access point, such as a cleanout or a manhole. The nozzle is specifically designed to propel a concentrated stream of water at high pressure to effectively clear the blockage.
  4. High-pressure water jetting: The hydro jetting machine is activated, sending pressurized water through the hose and out of the jetting nozzle. The powerful stream of water is propelled forward, effectively breaking up and dislodging the clog. The water pressure can range from 3,000 to over 10,000 pounds per square inch (psi), depending on the severity of the blockage and the size of the sewer line.
  5. Thorough cleaning: As the water jets through the sewer line, it thoroughly cleans the pipe walls, removing any accumulated debris, grease, mineral deposits, and other obstructions. The high-pressure water stream scours the interior surfaces of the pipe, restoring optimal flow and improving the overall condition of the sewer line.
  6. Inspection and testing: Once the hydro jetting process is completed, the plumber may perform another camera inspection to ensure that the sewer line is completely clear and free from any remaining blockages. This step helps verify the effectiveness of the hydro jetting process and ensures that the sewer line is in good condition.
  7. Maintenance and prevention: After hydro jetting, the plumber may provide recommendations for preventive maintenance, such as regular hydro jetting or the use of additives to prevent future clogs and maintain the optimal flow of the sewer line.

How much does hydro jetting cost?

It typically requires a professional and can cost between $200 and $400. The cost varies depending on the scope and severity of the clog, with the typical price usually running somewhere between $200 and $800.

Hydro jetting a severely clogged residential sewer line costs $1,000 or more. Commercial hydro jetting costs $500 to $3,000.

Hydro jetting is more expensive than drain snakes, but it’s incredibly effective at fully eradicating issues within drains and provides long-term results.

What are the potential drawbacks of hydro jetting?

  • Pipe damage: In rare cases, hydro jetting can cause damage to older or fragile pipes. The high-pressure water stream, if used improperly or on weakened pipes, may lead to cracks, joint separation, or even pipe collapse. It is crucial to have a professional plumber assess the condition of the pipes before hydro jetting to ensure they can withstand the water pressure.
  • Cost: Hydro jetting can be more expensive than other clog-clearing methods, such as snaking. The equipment required, the expertise involved, and the thoroughness of the process contribute to the higher cost. However, it is important to consider that hydro jetting provides long-lasting results and helps prevent future clogs, potentially saving money on future maintenance.
  • Safety concerns: The high-pressure water used in hydro jetting can pose safety risks if not handled properly. The forceful water stream can cause injuries if directed towards the body, eyes, or skin. Professional plumbers are trained to follow safety protocols and use appropriate protective gear to minimize these risks.
  • Limited accessibility: Hydro jetting may not be suitable for all plumbing systems or hard-to-reach areas. For example, pipes with severe structural issues, sharp bends, or tight spaces may pose challenges for hydro jetting equipment to reach and effectively clear clogs.
  • Temporary disruption: During the hydro jetting process, water flow may need to be temporarily shut off, causing inconvenience or disruption to the plumbing system. Additionally, in cases where sewer lines are being hydro jetted, access points may need to be opened, potentially causing temporary disruption to the surrounding area.
  • Environmental impact: Although hydro jetting is generally considered an environmentally friendly method, as it does not rely on harsh chemicals, the excessive use of water during the process can be a consideration in areas with water scarcity or drought conditions.

Does hydro jetting work on tree roots?

Hydro jetting can be effective in removing tree roots that have infiltrated sewer lines or drain pipes.

Tree roots are a common cause of clogs and blockages in plumbing systems, particularly in older or damaged pipes.

When using hydro jetting to clear tree roots, a specialized nozzle with forward- and backward-facing jets is typically employed.

The high-pressure water stream produced by the hydro jetting equipment can cut through and dislodge tree roots, breaking them into smaller pieces.

As the water continues to flow, it flushes away the root fragments, clearing the pipe and restoring proper flow.

It’s important to note that the effectiveness of hydro jetting on tree roots depends on several factors, including the thickness of the roots, the condition of the pipes, and the extent of root infiltration.

In some cases, if the roots have caused significant damage to the pipes, additional repairs or pipe replacement may be necessary to fully resolve the issue.

What can you remove with hydro jetting?

Grease and oil

Hydro jetting can effectively break up and flush away accumulated grease and oil deposits in drain lines, which are common causes of clogs in kitchen plumbing systems.

Mineral deposits

Over time, mineral deposits such as scale and limescale can accumulate on the inner walls of pipes, restricting water flow. Hydro jetting can remove these deposits, restoring optimal flow and preventing further buildup.

Debris and sediment

Hydro jetting is highly effective in clearing out debris, sediment, and other accumulated particles in drain lines, ensuring proper drainage and preventing clogs.


Hair can easily accumulate and cause clogs in bathroom drains. Hydro jetting can dislodge and remove hair from the pipes, restoring smooth flow and preventing blockages.

Tree roots

Tree roots infiltrating sewer lines can cause significant blockages and damage. Hydro jetting can cut through tree roots, break them into smaller fragments, and flush them away, clearing the pipe and restoring proper flow.

Food waste

In kitchen plumbing systems, hydro jetting can effectively remove food waste and other organic materials that may cause clogs and foul odors.


Hydro jetting can clear obstructions such as small objects or foreign materials that may have accidentally entered the plumbing system, restoring unimpeded water flow.

How you know when you need hydro jetting

  • Persistent clogs: If you frequently experience clogs that are not easily cleared using traditional methods like plunging or snaking, it could be a sign of a more stubborn blockage that requires hydro jetting. Hydro jetting can effectively break up and remove tough obstructions that other methods may struggle to clear.
  • Slow draining: If your sinks, showers, or toilets are draining slowly even after attempts to clear clogs, it suggests a build-up of debris, grease, or other materials in the pipes. Hydro jetting can thoroughly clean the pipes, restoring optimal drainage and improving water flow.
  • Foul odors: Persistent foul odors emanating from your drains can indicate the presence of accumulated organic matter, such as food waste or grease, in the pipes. Hydro jetting can eliminate these odors by thoroughly removing the source of the smell.
  • Recurring blockages: If you experience recurring blockages in your plumbing system, it may be an indication of an underlying issue. Hydro jetting can provide a more comprehensive and long-lasting solution by removing not only the current blockage but also preventing future build-ups.
  • Sewer line issues: If you notice multiple drains in your home backing up simultaneously or gurgling sounds coming from the drains, it could indicate a blockage or damage in the main sewer line. Hydro jetting is an effective method for clearing sewer line blockages caused by tree roots, debris, or other materials.
  • Preventive maintenance: Hydro jetting can also be used as a preventive measure to maintain the health of your plumbing system. Regular hydro jetting can help remove potential clog-causing materials, minimize the risk of blockages, and ensure the smooth operation of your plumbing.

What are the chances of hydro jetting damaging your plumbing?

When carried out by skilled professionals who adhere to industry best practices, the likelihood of hydro jetting causing damage to your plumbing is typically low. However, there are some factors that can increase the risk of potential damage:

  • Old or fragile pipes: Older pipes, especially those made of fragile materials such as clay or corroded cast iron, may be more susceptible to damage from the high-pressure water used in hydro jetting. It is essential to assess the condition of the pipes before hydro jetting to ensure their structural integrity.
  • Improper water pressure: The water pressure used in hydro jetting should be carefully regulated to match the specific requirements of the plumbing system. Excessive water pressure can potentially cause pipes to crack or joints to separate. Professional plumbers with experience in hydro jetting understand the importance of using appropriate water pressure for the specific situation.
  • Misalignment or damage: If pipes are misaligned or already damaged, the high-pressure water stream from hydro jetting could exacerbate the existing issues or cause further damage. Thorough inspection prior to hydro jetting can help identify any existing damage or alignment problems.
  • Inexperienced or unqualified technicians: Inadequate training or lack of experience in hydro jetting techniques can increase the risk of improper use of the equipment, leading to potential damage to the plumbing system. It is crucial to hire qualified and experienced professionals for hydro jetting services.

Is Hydro jetting worth it?

Hydro jetting is worth it for many plumbing situations. Hydro jetting offers several benefits, including its high effectiveness in clearing tough blockages, removing accumulated debris, and restoring optimal flow in drain and sewer lines.

It can efficiently remove grease, mineral deposits, tree roots, and other stubborn obstructions that traditional methods may struggle to clear.

Hydro jetting also helps prevent future clogs and promotes the longevity of the plumbing system.

While it may be a higher upfront investment compared to other methods, the long-lasting results and reduced need for frequent maintenance make hydro jetting a cost-effective solution in the long run.

Moreover, professional plumbers with the expertise and equipment required for hydro jetting can ensure the process is carried out safely, minimizing the chances of damage to the plumbing system.

How often do I need to do pipe jetting?

It is recommended to schedule pipe jetting as part of regular maintenance to prevent major clogs and ensure optimal flow.

For residential properties, a standard guideline is to consider pipe jetting every 1 to 3 years.

However, properties with high usage, such as commercial or industrial establishments, may require more frequent jetting, potentially on an annual or semi-annual basis.

What pipes in a home are usually the ones that need to be hydro-jetted?

In a home, the main pipes that commonly require hydro jetting are the sewer lines and the drain lines. These pipes are responsible for carrying wastewater and sewage away from your property.

Over time, these pipes can accumulate debris, grease, hair, mineral deposits, and other materials that can lead to clogs and reduced flow.

By hydro jetting the sewer lines and drain lines, you can effectively remove these blockages and restore optimal functionality.

Sewer lines are typically larger pipes that connect your home’s plumbing system to the municipal sewer system or septic tank.

These pipes can become clogged due to tree roots, accumulated debris, or other obstructions.

Hydro jetting can effectively clear these sewer lines, preventing backups and potential sewer line damage.

Drain lines, on the other hand, are the smaller pipes that connect various fixtures in your home, such as sinks, showers, toilets, and bathtubs, to the main sewer line.

These drain lines can accumulate debris, grease, soap scum, and hair, leading to slow drains and clogs.

Hydro jetting can thoroughly clean these drain lines, ensuring proper flow and preventing recurring clogs.

What pressure is needed for hydro jetting?

Hydro jetting uses a specialized hose and nozzle to shoot water through your pipes at a force of around 1500 psi on average. However, that number can rise to 5000 psi.

An experienced plumber will know how much water pressure is needed to effectively remove buildup from a given distance. In general, water pressure of 2,000 to 5,000 PSI is enough to clear out most residential and commercial sewer lines.

Hydro jetters run on water pressures ranging from 2000 to 4000 PSI with 2–25 gallon flow rates per minute. The ones used for heavy-duty municipal sewer cleaning, on the other hand, have a flow rate of up to 120 gallons per minute.

Can you DIY hydro jetting for your own home?

DIY hydro jetting is generally not recommended for homeowners.

Hydro jetting involves using specialized equipment that generates high-pressure water streams, which can be dangerous if not handled properly.

It requires expertise and knowledge of plumbing systems, blockage types, and appropriate water pressure to avoid causing damage to pipes or injury to yourself.

Here are a few reasons why DIY hydro jetting is not advised:

  • Safety concerns: Handling high-pressure water without proper training and protective gear can be hazardous. The force of the water stream can cause injuries to the operator or others nearby. Professional plumbers are trained to handle the equipment safely, follow safety protocols, and wear protective clothing to minimize risks.
  • Lack of expertise: Hydro jetting requires an understanding of plumbing systems, blockage types, and the appropriate water pressure for different situations. Professionals have the knowledge and experience to assess the condition of the pipes, identify the blockage source, and select the correct nozzle configuration and water pressure to effectively clear the obstruction.
  • Potential damage: Misusing hydro jetting equipment or using incorrect water pressure can lead to damage to pipes, joints, or fittings. Older or fragile pipes are particularly susceptible to damage from high-pressure water. Professional plumbers have the expertise to evaluate the condition of the pipes and determine if hydro jetting is suitable and safe for your specific plumbing system.
  • Insurance and warranty: DIY hydro jetting may void warranties or insurance coverage for your plumbing system. If you attempt hydro jetting and accidentally cause damage, it could result in costly repairs that may not be covered by insurance or warranties.

What tools do you need for jetting plumbing?

  • Pressure jet drain cleaner: This tool typically consists of a flexible hose with a high-pressure nozzle attached to one end. It is designed to deliver a powerful stream of water to clear blockages in drain lines. The pressure jet drain cleaner should have a compatible connection for attaching to a water source.
  • Water source: A reliable and sufficient water source is necessary to supply the pressure jet drain cleaner. This can be a standard water supply from a hose bib or an external water tank. Ensure that the water source provides an adequate flow rate to generate the required water pressure for effective jetting.
  • Water pump: In some cases, you may need a water pump to increase the water pressure if the existing water source pressure is not sufficient. The water pump helps create the high-pressure stream required for effective jetting.
  • Safety equipment: It is essential to prioritize safety when performing jetting plumbing. Wear protective gear, including safety goggles, gloves, and appropriate clothing to protect yourself from high-pressure water and potential debris dislodged during the process.
  • Nozzles: Different types of nozzles are available for pressure jet drain cleaners, hydro-jetters, or water jetters. These include forward-facing nozzles, rotary nozzles, and penetrating nozzles. The specific nozzle used depends on the type of blockage and the desired jetting effect. Having a variety of nozzles allows for versatility in addressing different types of clogs.
  • Accessories: Depending on the specific equipment being used, there may be additional accessories required, such as hose extensions, reel systems, or nozzle attachments for different pipe sizes or angles. These accessories enhance the flexibility and reach of the jetting process.

Can all plumbers use jet plumbing?

Not all plumbers are equipped or trained to perform jet plumbing, such as hydro jetting.

Jet plumbing requires specialized equipment, expertise in handling high-pressure water systems, and knowledge of plumbing systems and potential risks.

While many professional plumbers offer jet plumbing services, it is crucial to ensure that the plumber you hire has the necessary experience and expertise in this specific area.

Is hydro jetting just for sewer lines?

Hydro jetting is not just limited to sewer lines. While hydro jetting is commonly used for sewer lines due to their larger diameter and the potential for stubborn blockages, it can also be applied to various other types of plumbing lines.

Hydro jetting is effective in clearing blockages and removing buildup in different pipes and drains, including:

  • Drain lines: Hydro jetting can be used to clear clogs and remove debris from smaller drain lines, such as kitchen sink drains, bathroom sink drains, shower drains, and bathtub drains. It helps to restore proper flow and prevent recurring clogs.
  • Storm drains: Hydro jetting is useful for cleaning storm drains, which are designed to carry rainwater and runoff from outdoor areas. Storm drains can accumulate leaves, dirt, sediment, and other debris, leading to blockages. Hydro jetting effectively removes these obstructions, ensuring proper drainage during heavy rainfalls.
  • Downspouts and gutters: Hydro jetting can clear clogs and remove debris from downspouts and gutters. Leaves, twigs, and other debris can accumulate in gutters over time, leading to blockages and poor water flow. Hydro jetting helps maintain clean and functional gutters and downspouts.
  • Industrial and commercial pipes: Hydro jetting is also employed in industrial and commercial settings where larger pipes and more demanding plumbing systems are present. It can be used to clear blockages and remove buildup in pipes used for manufacturing processes, cooling systems, or wastewater management.

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Author: Logan

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